No place for domestic violence lessons in schools
LAST week the Government announced that from 2011 children from the age of five will be taught about domestic violence. Hertfordshire County Council issued a press release with the headline Hertfordshire is leading the way in teaching school pupils that
LAST week the Government announced that from 2011 children from the age of five will be taught about domestic violence.
Hertfordshire County Council issued a press release with the headline 'Hertfordshire is leading the way in teaching school pupils that domestic violence against women and girls is wrong.' What about the men and boys who suffer from domestic violence? Is that therefore right?
Within the council's own press release it states that one in four women and one in six men will suffer some kind of domestic abuse in their lifetime. But, despite the statistics, the council has displayed the commonly held view that domestic abuse only affects females.
If domestic violence is to be taught in schools then the first lesson should be that both sexes can fall victim, and that it is unacceptable whatever the circumstances, but I think such a subject has no place in a primary school classroom.
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The majority of young children come from happy homes, and it would be wrong to deliberately set out to shatter their innocence by forcing them to learn about the harsh realities of other people's lives.
Teachers are trained to spot pupils who may be victims of domestic violence, or who may be witnessing abuse at home. Can we not leave it to the professionals to identify these children and ensure they get the help and support they need?
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Educating children about domestic violence at such a tender age risks their developing negative relationships between boys and girls, and distorting their views of relationships in general.
Surely it is enough to teach young children about the wrongness of bullying, and the importance of respect.
Forcing teachers to cover the issue of domestic violence at school is also adding to an already packed curriculum, and risks overburdening them.
With domestic violence being added to a long list of social subjects which require teaching at school - such as sex education, personal finance, body image, healthy living and bullying - less time is left for the basics of reading and writing.